Scandinavia is, perhaps more than any other part of the world, synonymous with craft, a craft whose effortless simplicity and “rightness” makes so much else look fussy and over laboured in comparison. Norway, land of fjords, forests and cool crisp skies, has consistently produced talented designers who revel in fusing their respect for natural materials and their country’s strong craft heritage with the possibilities of today’s technology.
This rich craft scene is celebrated in Everything is Connected, an exhibition bringing together 30 of Norway’s most innovative design studios and craftsmen which sets up in Milan’s Ventura Lambrate district from 4-9 April during the Salone del Mobile. Curated by the designer and interior architect Katrin Greiling of Studio Greiling, Everything is Connected is a collaboration between Norwegian designers’ union Klubben, DOGA Design and Architecture Norway, Norwegian Crafts and the paint manufacturer Jotun, a company born in Norway in 1926 and long term supporter of its design talent.
Jotun 10981 Norwegian Wood
Last year, the same four organisations put on a show called Structure. This year, Everything is Connected will, they say, “seek to present design and craft in the context of their creation”, so looking at how these works and their production fits within the country’s practical infrastructure, its workshops and facilities, education programmes and logistics.
The wares span a variety of media from furniture, textiles and ceramics to lighting and all manner of other homewares, made both by emerging talents and established names. They include: Barmen & Brekke, who fuse wood and ceramics in their homewares; Kaja Dahl, with a range of perfumed objects from diffusers to table sculptures called Norwegian Notes; Vera & Kyte, who show their wood and steel Dwell bench; jewellery designer Andrea Muribø, and ceramicist Anette Krogstad to name just a few.
Their designs will be set against and warmed by Jotun’s new trio of colours: the cool light blue-grey Jotun 5452 Nordic Breeze: Jotun 4785 Blue River, a deeper, rich blue, and Jotun 10981 Norwegian Wood, a light, fawn brown with reddish undertones. Milan Design Week marks the unveiling of this new palette. To the uninformed, this may be simply paint. But, says Rana Khadra, colour and creative manager for Jotun, Middle East India and Africa, the new trio reflects both current design and interiors trends and also takes influence from “fashion, fine art and craft, architecture and broader societal trends.”